We have published our third set of case summaries of complaints arising from the impact of coronavirus.
We have selected the summaries to illustrate our approach to different scenarios in the complaints we have seen so far.
The summaries include complaints about changes to course delivery and assessments, accommodation, and disciplinary action.
We include examples of cases where the higher education provider has agreed to settle the student’s complaint because we have drawn attention to our previous case summaries illustrating the approach we have taken in similar cases. It is positive that providers have been open to settlement opportunities and have made use of the summaries to guide their decision making.
Felicity Mitchell, Independent Adjudicator said:
“These case summaries illustrate some of the challenging and complex situations that providers and students have been dealing with as a result of the pandemic. They illustrate our approach to deciding what is fair and reasonable in these kinds of situations. We hope they will be helpful to providers and students.”
Notes to editors
- The summaries will were published on our website on 29 July 2021 (the first two sets of case summaries relating to complaints about the impact of coronavirus are available on the same link).
- The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) is the independent student complaints ombuds service for higher education in England and Wales. It is the designated operator of the student complaints’ scheme under the Higher Education Act 2004.
- Our Scheme is free to students, and has been designed to be accessible to all students, without the need for legal representation.
- We have a wide remit to review student complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales, as set out in our Scheme Rules.
- In 2020 we received 2,604 complaints. Complaints to us have risen steadily over the last few years.
- We have to date received around 900 complaints arising from the impact of coronavirus (not including a large group complaint).
- Where we decide that a complaint is Justified or Partly Justified we make Recommendations to the provider to put things right for the student. In some cases this might include a partial refund of tuition fees and/or compensation for disappointment or distress and inconvenience.
- You can find further information about the Scheme and our work at www.oiahe.org.uk/.